Tuesday, July 31, 2012

New Coaches and A.D.'s at Campbell and Merrimack

"My assistant coach (Rod Hayward) and I made the decision that we did everything we could at Campbell" said Shawn Flynn. "I was there for 12 years, we had five straight championship game appearances. It's time for a new challenge."

That new challenge is to turn around the Merrimack girls basketball program, which has struggled in recent years. The position opened up when Amy Larkin-Perez stepped down after just two seasons at the helm. Flynn goes from Campbell, where he his team was the heavy favorite to win virtually every time they took the court to Merrimack where they will be the underdog on most nights.

"It's a challenge, but one that I look forward to" said Flynn, who still teaches at Campbell even though he no longer coaches there. "At Campbell they were 0-18 the year before I came in."

Flynn had a very impressive tenure in Litchfield. Not only did the Cougars make five straight Division III finals appearances, but they won the D-III title in 2010 and they had a 39 game winning streak heading into the 2011-2012 title game.

He definitely has his hands full at Merrimack. The Tomahawks went just 3-15 last season, and they will only have two seniors this year. One of those seniors though is guard Kate Cole, who is expected to be one of the top players in D-I this winter.

Merrimack also has a new Athletic Director, as Eric Sabean took over the position two weeks ago after previous A.D. Andy Krahling resigned in the spring.

"I was actually hired a week before the new A.D. was" said Coach Flynn. "So there was a few days there where I wasn't sure what was going to happen and if the new A.D. was going to keep me around or if he was going to bring in all his own people in. But I met with Eric and fortunately he decided to keep me on."

Meanwhile, Campbell High also has a new A.D. in John Patterson. Not only did Flynn resign following the 2011-2012 high school basketball season, but so did the school's boys coach Pat Roye. Both Flynn and Roye had a lot of success in their tenures at Campbell, but both stepped down within days of each other.

Patterson has hired replacements for both programs. On the girls side he has promoted JV coach Robert Allan to be Flynn's replacement as the head coach. Allan is only 24 years old, making him one of the youngest basketball coaches in the state.

"Robert was my JV coach for one year and he has a lot of energy and enthusiasm" said Flynn. "He'll do a good job with the girls there."

Allan will have a good chance to continue to the winning tradition Coach Flynn has going with the Campbell girls. Although they graduate star players Becca Arnone and Liz Pettis, they have a very good sophomore back court of Hannah Neild and Kylee Julia (a transfer from the New Hampton School). Also returning is guard Aly O'Donnell and forward Alex Trevains, who were both key players to last year's team.

On the boys side the new Campbell basketball coach is John Langlois. Langlois had coached the Bedford boys team for the past two years but stepped down at the beginning of the summer. He led the Bulldogs to the D-II finals appearance in just the fourth year of the program and also coached Somersworth High to a D-III championship in 2005.

Langlois also has a chance to win right away at Campbell, as the Cougars have a strong core group of players returning. Max Gouveia, Jacob Morgan, Caleb McKearin and Jesiah Wade give Campbell a group that has the talent to a win a title in 2013.

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